BENDIGO schools are planning for possible COVID-19 forced closures, as several schools around the country shut due to virus cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday it was inevitable all schools would be forced to close at some point as the virus spread within Victoria.
It comes as Melbourne school Carey Baptist Grammar closed after an adult member of the school community developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said staff had discussed informally what would happen if the school was forced to close.
Mr Pearce said he understood the education department was preparing a plan, of which they would advise schools at the appropriate time.
He said it was feasible for the school to continue teaching remotely, but classes with a practical element would be compromised.
But Mr Pearce said this planning was at very early stages. He said he would wait until the department issued advice before proceeding.
He said any closure wouldn't be BSSC's decision to make. Rather the school would immediately report any cases among staff or students to the Department of Education, he said.
Mr Pearce said he hoped not to use any COVID-19 plan, but the school had a responsibility to students and staff to develop one.
"We're aware if a decision had to be made, it may be made very quickly," Mr Pearce said.
"I don't think any school would be caught in a situation where they didn't have any plan in place."
Marist College Bendigo principal Darren McGregor said the school was ready with resources such as email and webpage statements in the event of sudden closure.
Mr McGregor said he had asked parents to send him details of any overseas travel they planned to take in the coming school holidays.
He said this period was one of "increased alertness" as the school lost contact with families for two weeks, many of whom would travel.
The school has postponed a Year 11 immersion trip to Timor Leste, which had been planned for the end of the school holidays.
Mr McGregor said online teaching would not be as easy as it sounded, because not all students had equal access to the internet.
But he said he hoped students would continue to learn from home.
Mr McGregor said Marist College would close if the immediate community was at risk or if the Education Department closed all schools.
Victorians will face extreme measures when new virus COVID-19 begins to spread in the community according to state leaders.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned the government would be asking citizens to do things that it had never asked before as he released a pandemic plan for the health sector.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has said people in society would have a 50-50 chance of contracting the virus as it spread.
Nearly 110,000 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been reported globally. More than 3800 people have died.
Australia has 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 12 of which are in Victoria.
Mr Andrews warned all schools would inevitably close, entire sectors would work from home and large sporting and cultural events would be cancelled.
The pandemic plan sets out a four stage response to COVID-19. The first and current stage focuses on containment. Further stages plan to slow the virus, manage hospital resources, respond to a severe outbreak and recover as quickly as possible.
If you are concerned, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. More information at dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus.
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